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The Olmecs

The first civilization to evolve in Mesoamerica was that of the Olmecs. Around 1500 B.C., villages in Mesoamerica became more complex and specialized. These people formed a nation which they called Olmec.







Olmecs

The Olmecs built huge religious stone emblems of their gods and rulers. Some of these emblems were more than nine feet tall, and weighed more than 40 tons. These massive figures were transported miles across the terrain without the use of wheels or the aid of animals.

The Olmec villages were organized, with a market square in the center where trade and business could take place. They worshipped a variety of gods and deities. Their chief god was believed to be a being with a human body and a jaguar face.

The Olmecs were expert farmers and practiced a type of farming known as slash-and-burn farming. They would cut the trees of a forest down and wait a period of several months as the trees dried out. They would then light the trees on fire, burning them all into ashes. These ashes acted as a fertilizer, making the soil more fertile. These farmers then farmed the land a few years until it was no longer fertile, at which point they moved on to the next forest.

       


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